BINH DUONG PROVINCE, Vietnam - Case goods and upholstery manufacturer Markor International Home Furnishings Company announced Saturday that it has reached an agreement with full line furniture manufacturer Starwood Furniture Manufacturing Vietnam Corp. in which Markor will become Starwood’s major shareholder.
Through this partnership, the companies said they will fully integrate their combined resources in areas such as product development, manufacturing, warehousing and container transportation “to establish a synergistic product supply service system. The two companies are committed to driving efficiencies which will improve product quality and inventory feed, resulting in markedly improved customer order fulfillment.”
While it was not immediately clear when Markor will become Starwood’s majority shareholder or the value of the investment, the company said the partnership will help sustain Starwood’s growth over the long term.
Founded in 2004, Starwood has 1.7 million square feet of production space and employs 3,000 workers in Vietnam. It produces a wide range of bedroom, dining room and occasional furniture as well as upholstery, home entertainment and home office furniture.
Markor has been sourcing product from Starwood for several years, including for its U.S. divisions Caracole and A.R.T. Furniture. Markor said these divisions will continue to receive priority support.
In addition, Markor said the manufacturer will continue to produce furniture for other customers, noting that they, too, will “benefit from enhanced customer deliveries as a result of Starwood Furniture’s optimization and integration of Markor’s sophisticated demand forecasting technology.”
“Starwood Furniture and Markor have had a long working relationship,” said Mark Feng, CEO of Markor’s U.S.-based international business division. “This new strategic alliance will help Markor enhance its global supply chain network and form a more mature supply chain collaboration between the two companies. The new agreement combines the core competencies of both parties, Markor’s expanding global ecosystem of home furnishings operations with Starwood Furniture’s advanced Vietnam manufacturing resources.”
For years, Markor has produced furniture for A.R.T. and Caracole in its Tianjin, China, plant, which also produces Markor branded products for the Chinese market. Founded in 1990 by Richard Feng, chairman and CEO, it currently has 10 advanced furniture production facilities in China, most of which are in Tianjin. Markor also has production in Urumqi, China, where it also is based.
The Starwood announcement occurs as the U.S. imposes tariffs on more than $200 billion of Chinese-made consumer products, including furniture. A 10% tariff took effect Sept. 24, and the U.S. government plans to increase this to 25% Jan. 1, 2019, unless it is able to negotiate an agreement with China before then.
Shifting more of its production to Vietnam would shield Markor and its U.S. customers from any major fallout, including major price increases on finished product resulting from the tariffs.
In addition to Caracole and A.R.T. Furniture, Markor also owns U.S. upholstery manufacturer Rowe Furniture and high-end wood furniture manufacturer Jonathan Charles, which has its own plants in Vietnam.